Paid Break Time for Nursing Mothers and Mandatory Pregnancy Accommodations
On June 30, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed legislation (SB 9) requiring:
- All employers to provide paid break times each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for their infant child during the twelve months following their birth; and
- Employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, with the advice of a licensed health care provider or certified doula, when they request it unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations.
Pregnant employees can’t be required to get a licensed health care provider’s or certified doula’s advice, and employers can’t claim undue hardship, for the following accommodations:
- More frequent restroom, food, and water breaks;
- Seating; and
- Limits on lifting over 20 pounds.
Employers and employees must engage in an interactive process with respect to an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation and a reasonable accommodation may include a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, seating, frequent restroom breaks, and limits to heavy lifting.
However, employers can’t be required to create a new or additional position as a reasonable accommodation or fire an employee, transfer another employee with greater seniority, or promote an employee. Likewise, an employee can’t be required to take a leave or accept an accommodation. Retaliation against an employee seeking an accommodation or asserting their rights is prohibited.
The law is effective January 1, 2022.